We occasionally forget how lucky most of us are to live in areas where internet connections are fast, cheap, and readily available. If you’re reading this through a super-fast WiFi network on a smartphone, or a fiber-optic broadband connection, you’ll likely have noticed that the whole article – images and surroundings included – loaded in a very small number of seconds. You probably took that for granted. Super-fast connection speeds have been with us for a long time now, and we’ve all got used to them. We’ve forgotten that in many parts of the world, having any kind of functional internet connection at all is a near-miracle.
Google hasn’t forgotten that. If any internet tech company knows how much internet connection speed and availability varies from one country in the world to another, it’s Google. Whether we like it or not (and we know that most people don’t), they see everything, hear everything, and track everything. They know that even though some of us – perhaps even most of us – enjoy connection rapid connection speeds through powerful devices and can consume dozens of megabytes per second, other people don’t. For those people, using the power of HTML5, they’ve created GameSnacks.
The potential of HTML5 when it comes to creating games that place low demand on processors and internet speed connections has been known about for some time. It’s become the go-to coding language of online slots websites within the past few years. By using HTML5, online slots games can be gathered together under one website in their hundreds, and played on almost any screen that has an internet connection and a means of pressing buttons. Millions of people all over the world log in to online slots websites and view the latest promotions every day in a way that wouldn’t be possible if the games were only available to people with cutting edge hardware and lightning-fast connections, and so it seems that someone at Google has been keeping an eye on their progress and taking notes.
GameSnacks has been born from Google’s innovative Area 120 incubator project and is designed to bring enjoyable games that don’t place heavy requirements on RAM, storage, processor speed, or any other metric that might exclude anyone from playing or enjoying games from within their browser. According to the company’s promotional material, any game that’s launched under the GameSnack banner should load within a small number of seconds, and work perfectly well even if the end user is working with a connection as slow as one megabyte per second – the sort of speed that was common back when 3G was the upper limit of mobile connection technology. Aside from the fast connection, each one of the games has been configured to demand no more than one gigabyte of ram from the device it’s played upon. That should include even the oldest of still-functional tablets and smartphones, as well as aging laptops and desktops.
As one would probably expect from those limitations, the GameSnacks games collection is made up of simple and short games – the kind that (if you’re old enough), you might recall playing on 8-bit machines or the very first generation of consoles. A side-scrolling shoot-em-up in the style of ‘Spy Hunter’ is among the first of the GameSnacks offering, as well as a jewel-collecting game than might owe more than a little of its inspiration to the enduring popularity of the ‘Candy Crush’ mobile games. They might not provide as immersive or engrossing a game world as you’d find in the latest ‘Resident Evil’ or ‘Skyrim’ games, but they’re an entertaining way of passing the time while so many of us are subject to lockdown conditions all over the planet. Some of them even have potential to be turned into larger games should they prove to be popular – any video game designer with a grand project in mind might well be advised to try to get their idea up and running as GameSnacks game first, and then look to use their basic creation as a sales aid to try to convince a larger studio to invest in funding a more detailed version.
This is a brand new innovation from Google – one that, to us, looks like the next stage in the evolution of the browser games that they’ve become known for on their home screen for the past several years – and might be the start of a whole new project that could be added to and expanded upon for years. The possibilities for advertisers are also obvious. As web users become more and more conditioned to either avoiding or ignoring adverts on websites and within search results, purpose-built brand-specific basic games added to the GameSnack roster might be the new way to reach customers and enhance brand visibility. Given the fact that Google relies on advertising revenue as their primary source of income, it’s hard to imagine that this idea won’t have crossed their minds already.
The first wave of GameSnacks games is available already. Google has announced a new partnership with Asian games company Gojek – the creators of GoGames – and all of the games that have been created thus far feature on that platform. Reasonably well-known mobile game designers, including Black Moon Design and Enclave Games, have made contributions. Presumably, if all goes well and the games prove to be popular, larger studios will come on board and attempt to get in on the action. Don’t be surprised to see ultra-basic versions of popular games like ‘Fortnite’ and ‘Call of Duty’ become available as GameSnacks titles if the new platform can demonstrate that it has an active base of users in search of new titles to play.
None of the games that appear on GameSnacks at the moment are likely to replace your usual favorite game. The majority of them are there simply to serve as a distraction while you have nothing else to do, for example, when there’s a commercial break of television, or you’re on public transport with a few minutes to kill before you reach your destination. As they’ve all been provided free of charge, though, we shouldn’t complain about that. We welcome distractions of almost any kind at this point in time, and GameSnacks is a very welcome invention!